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Council News Release

12/15/2006  4:10:00 PM
Phyllis Shulman, Conlin Office, (206) 684-8805

Councilmember Richard Conlin

Councilmembers Richard Conlin and Jan Drago and Governor Chris Gregoire agree a replacement bridge must be six-lanes with capacity for transit and carpools

SEATTLE – Councilmember Richard Conlin, chair of the State Route 520 Bridge Replacement Council committee, and Councilmember Jan Drago, chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee, applauded Governor Christine Gregoire’s preference for a six-lane replacement for the SR 520 Bridge. Councilmember Conlin said, “The Governor has seen that the future demands a place for carpools and transit on the SR 520 bridge.” Councilmember Drago said, “The six-lane alternatives provide the only option for increased transit. That’s the only way to boost the number of people using the bridge without increasing the number of single-occupancy vehicles on our congested roads.”

Conlin and Drago are pleased that the Governor emphasized the urgency of replacing the 520 bridge, which had to be closed today because of high winds. “The region has two transportation structures—the SR 520 bridge and the Alaskan Way Viaduct—that need to be replaced as quickly as possible. We ignore either one at our peril,” said Councilmember Drago.

Councilmembers Conlin and Drago also praised the governor for her admission that the state had not yet identified adequate funds to replace the bridge. Councilmember Conlin said, “The governor showed real backbone by admitting that replacing SR 520 is primarily a state responsibility and that the state had not yet found the funds to do so. We look forward to a partnership with the governor to produce more funding in this upcoming session of the State Legislature.”

Councilmember Conlin said that when the governor has an opportunity to examine the two six-lane replacement options, there’s no doubt that she will see the superiority of the Six Lane Pacific Interchange Option. Councilmember Conlin said, “This design can serve Seattle’s neighborhoods, the City’s environmental values, and regional mobility.”

The SR 520 Bridge was built in 1963 and must be replaced. The bridge is vulnerable to earthquake, wind storms, and deterioration from the waves of Lake Washington. The Six Lane Pacific Street Interchange Option will have four general purpose lanes and two lanes for transit and carpools. Councilmember Drago noted that the Six Lane Pacific Interchange Option has strong environmental benefits. “A new bridge will improve the water quality of Lake Washington, add bike lanes, and make better transit connections,” said Councilmember Drago.

Councilmember Conlin said, “The Six Lane Option will do a great job of connecting Seattle and the Eastside. People from both sides of Lake Washington use the bridge equally to weave together the region. I’m proud of how our region’s leaders are working together to find consensus on a design that works for all of us.”


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